Removal of organic matter from reservoir water: mechanisms underpinning surface chemistry of natural adsorbents

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Journal Article
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2018, 15 (4), pp. 847 - 862
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© 2017, Islamic Azad University (IAU). One of the key challenges in water treatment industry is the removal of organic compounds by cost-effective methods. This study evaluated the adsorptive removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from reservoir water using fuller’s earth (FE) in comparison with natural (SQ) and modified quartz (MSQ) sands. The removal capacities of FE at different contact times, pH levels, adsorbent dosages and initial DOC concentrations were compared with both the quartz sands. The optimum DOC removals by FE and SQs were achieved at contact time of 60 and 30 min, pH level of 6 and 4, and at adsorbent dose of 1.5 g/150 mL and 10 g/100 mL, respectively. The adsorption capacity of FE (1.05 mg/g) was much higher compared to the MSQ (0.04 mg/g) and SQ (0.01 mg/g). Adsorption equilibrium data better fitted to the Freundlich model than to the Langmuir model, suggesting that adsorption occurred primarily through multilayer formation onto the surfaces of FE and SQ. The pseudo-second-order model described the uptake kinetics more effectively than the pseudo-first-order and intra-particle diffusion models, indicating that the mechanism was primarily governed by chemisorption. These observations were well supported by the physiochemical characteristics and charge behaviour of the adsorbents. In mass-transfer study, the results of liquid film diffusion model showed that the adsorption of DOC on FE was not controlled by film diffusion, but other mechanisms also played an essential role. This study demonstrates that FE is an effective adsorbent for the removal of DOC in surface water treatment.
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